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>  News Releases >   2008 >   November

Dartmouth Board of Trustees, administration discuss College's financial strategy

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 11/08/08 • Media Contact: Roland Adams • (603) 646-3661

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Board also approves Department of Neurology, new professorships

At their fall-term meeting in Hanover Nov. 7-8, the Trustees of Dartmouth College reviewed the institution's current and anticipated financial situation in detail with administrators and discussed preliminary plans for keeping the College financially strong in the current economically challenging environment.

Following the Board's meeting, Dartmouth President James Wright said the administration is working toward announcement within the next week of initial decisions and the approach the College will take to reduce expenses.

The Board also:

Strategic financial discussions

Dartmouth, like almost all colleges and universities and an array of other organizations, is facing financial challenges brought about by current worldwide economic problems.

This weekend's discussion between the Trustees and the administration focused on current and foreseeable financial realities and on strategic plans for managing institutional finances in ways that will continue to support key goals, such as support for teaching and research as well as the expanded financial aid program that Dartmouth implemented this fall.

Board Chair Ed Haldeman said, "The Board feels the Dartmouth administration has done a very good job of managing the institution's financial resources in a very challenging economic environment. We will continue to look to the administration to recommend creative, sound financial approaches to support the institution's core values and achieve its main goals.  The Board and the administration together remain committed to maintaining Dartmouth's leading position in higher education and to keeping a Dartmouth education financially accessible to those of outstanding talent from all sectors of society."

Department of Neurology approved

The Board approved elevation of the Section of Neurology at Dartmouth Medical School to the status of Department of Neurology.  The new status will facilitate contributions to understanding and treatment of a range of disorders involving the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles and other areas of the body.  (Examples include Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.)

Beginning in 1939 with one neurologist, the DMS program has grown to include 15 faculty members, nine residents, two clinical neurophysiology fellows and five nurse practitioners. The highly diversified section now has expertise in clinical care for a range of neurological disorders, performs research at both the clinical and basic levels, and has a teaching program that extends from undergraduate students to post-graduate programs.

The new department status will translate into stronger neuroscience research, teaching and clinical care through Dartmouth, DMS and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

New named professorships

The Board approved the following positions and expressed profound gratitude to the donors supporting each of them for their generosity and commitment to academic excellence.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences:

  • The John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professorship, funded by gifts from Kathryn and Richard Kimball '78 in memory of his father, will be held by a faculty member with distinguished records in both teaching and scholarship, preferably in American or European history.
  • The Myers Family Professorship, funded by gifts from Susan and F. Gibson "Gib"Myers '64, will be held by a faculty member without restriction to a specific academic discipline or department, though special consideration may be given to faculty who teach in the area of environmental science.

    Appointments to these positions will be announced at a later date.

Dartmouth Medical School:

  • The Endowed Chair for the Health Care Improvement Leadership recognizes important work and contributions made to Dartmouth Medical School by Dr. Paul Batalden, Professor of Pediatrics and of Community and Family Medicine. DMS Dean William R. Green noted that Dr. Batalden has been a key leader in health-care improvement and in the creation of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Green said that "countless students, governmental leaders and health-care providers have benefited from his mentorship." When Dr. Batalden retires from DMS, the position will become known as the Paul Batalden Chair for Clinical Improvement and Professional Development.
  • The Elmer R. Pfefferkorn, Ph.D. Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology recognizes Dr. Pfefferkorn's outstanding commitment to Dartmouth Medical School for 41 years. He is Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology. "Dr. Pfefferkorn is truly a legend at DMS and an icon in the teaching of medical students," said Dr. Green.  "Of significant note is the fact that this chair is the direct result of faculty, students and alumni requesting that this honor be bestowed upon this truly outstanding educator, scientist and friend of DMS."
Updates on the presidential search and campaign progress

Presidential search:

Al Mulley '70, a Trustee who chairs the search committee for the 17th President of Dartmouth, briefed the Board on activities and progress of the committee since the Board's last meeting in September.

The committee has been working on the search since last summer, after President Wright announced his plans to step down from the post in June 2009 after 11 years as president and 40 years as a Dartmouth faculty member.

Search activities have included a series of open forums for all parts of the Dartmouth community since last spring, seeking input on criteria for selection of a president as well as nominations.

In September the committee presented a statement of search criteria entitled, "The Opportunity for Leadership at Dartmouth" that will guide its deliberations and its ultimate recommendations to the Board regarding candidates for the presidency.

Mulley said the committee is on-track to begin interviewing candidates early in the coming year.

Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience:

Vice President for Development Carolyn A. Pelzel reported that the campaign remains on-track to achieve its $1.3 billion goal by the end of 2009, with $1.14 billion raised as of Oct. 31, including a major gift announced earlier this fall: $10 million from Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones '73 of Dallas, for need-based scholarships, with first preference given to students from Texas with demonstrated need.

Pelzel said that a focus on the annual funds of the College and its three professional schools, which provide unrestricted support, is particularly important at this time of economic challenge. She added that gifts to those funds are running about even with the level of contributions at this time last year.

The campaign's priorities include financial aid, faculty expansion and increased support for the academic program.

Public forum, meeting with student-athletes

Board members also met with students on Friday, first at a lunch discussion with student-athletes regarding athletics at Dartmouth, and later with students and others at a public forum hosted by the Student Assembly to discuss topics relevant to Board activities.

About 20 student-athletes, representing a range of varsity and club sports at Dartmouth and all undergraduate classes, participated in the lunch meeting. 

Later in the day, Board members answered questions from about 50 students in the public forum.  Questions focused on budget issues and how the Board and administration would go about dealing with those issues.  Board Chair Ed Haldeman and other Trustees present made clear that the main challenge is to control budget growth while maintaining the quality and financial accessibility of the Dartmouth experience. 

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